Bouldering in North Grampians Update – Easter 2014

Following quite a few enquiries more recently about bouldering areas open in the Grampians, notably the Northern Grampians, I have tried to put together a list of bouldering areas and their open/closed status. As was noted in an email I received from boulderer Vanessa Tocatijan, it can sometimes seem a little unclear especially to international climbers, what is exactly what. Trying to marry up areas in the reports which often highlight ranges and popular bouldering areas to the info contained in the Grampians Bouldering guidebook can be a little tricky if you aren’t that familiar with the Grampians.  As I explained, putting the information together in a report in a timely manner can often make this quite difficult and we don’t always manage to get it right. It is an important point that Vanessa has raised and I hope this info can help clarify things a little more. What I must also say is the interest of the climbing community to get the right info and get it right when it comes to closed fragile areas is really heartening and should be commended.
There are a number of extra bouldering sites reopened for Easter. They are still contained predominantly in the Mt Stapylton area

Northern Grampians areas

Andersons, sub areas include: CLOSED
Amnesty
Left main
Right main
Lower Clicke
Clicke

This area, including the sub areas mentioned, is still closed and needs more time to recover. It was burnt quite extensively, with the fire quite hot. Little rainfall hasn’t helped.

Hollow mountain, sub areas include: CLOSED
Sandanista
Legoland
Ramble wall
Echoes Block
Hollow Mountain Cave
Loopeys
Project wall

As above, this area is still closed. Hollow Mountain  provides access to a much larger area, parts of which are still delicate and will not handle the traffic climbers and boulderers bring as well as all the other park users who want access to the tracks. Another point to note –  It is also a trait of climbers and boulderers to wander off track to find and develop new areas. After fires the ability to access these is made much easier. Unfortunately, this is a death sentence for recovering environments. And as it has been proven in the past, new sites have been developed whilst the areas have been closed. This is not the only reason (climbers are not the only users that are being taken on board) but  it does inform whether opening a particular area that provides easy access to another nearby fragile area is a wise move.

Mt Stapylton area, sub areas include:
Kindergarten – CLOSED
Daves Cave – OPEN
Epsilon wall – OPEN
Trackside – OPEN
Spurt and afterglow walls – OPEN
Snakepit – OPEN
Lower Taipan – OPEN
Wildsides – OPEN
Between the Sheeps – OPEN
The Citadel – OPEN
Caves Club – OPEN
Ground Control Caves – ??

Campground area, sub areas include:
Campground Boulders – The boulders that are in park property are still off limits. There are some boulders that are on private property. These boulders were part of a negotiation with the private owners a number of years ago, whereas we managed to arrange access providing we took care of the sites, not using them to toilet etc. I have not managed a site inspection of this area as yet but would imagine the area would be quite fragile if it was contained in the fire zone. I would recommend giving this also some time to recover. Also accessing the boulders on private property requires you to pass through parks land and then the issue of toileting elsewhere becomes a problem.

Titanic – CLOSED

A number of enquiries have revolved around the Kindergarten closure. The track in is predominantly on rock, the site itself has a solid rock base so the question is – how is the environment being impacted and why is it still closed? On a site visit early last year that included myself, local boulderers and Parks Victoria, this was one area that we were really hoping would be in a situation that it could be reopened. All of us were throwing around possible workable options to make it happen but the agreed outcome at the end of the day was that it wasn’t really possible without risking 1. Access to nearby Andersons which was in a very fragile state 2. The amount of users that would then use the Kindergarten would be substantial and along with this would come the need for toileting areas. The surrounding soil  was very fragile and shouldn’t be accessed. Where would people toilet?  If you think about it, the reality of this ‘ small’ problem isn’t so small. Toileting on the rock is never acceptable yet digging a hole or moving off rock wasn’t an option either. Multiply that by the groups of people that head out to the area. Makes it tricky.

I will have a couple more updates to put up on the blog today. Stay tuned and be informed.

you think about it, the reality of this ‘ small’ problem isn’t so small. Toileting on the rock is never acceptable yet digging a hole or moving off rock wasn’t an option either. Multiply that by the groups of people that head out to the area. Makes it tricky.

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2 thoughts on “Bouldering in North Grampians Update – Easter 2014

  1. With regards to toiletting in sensitive areas, I thought I might share what has been done at El Dorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado. Although its a small park there is lots of climbing going on, and many of the popular areas are a good 30 minute hike up hill. As a result those who didnt manage to lighten themselves at the carpark and instead feel the urge after reaching the crag (perhaps after seeing the route thre intended to climb!?) are unlikely to walk back down again, but the dry, sometimes loose hillsides in the canyon just wouldn’t take that amount of err…. compost. The solution was for the local climbing club to install wag bag dispensers at strategic points along the trails. They are free, but you can donate $2 if you like. Inside you get a fold out plastic sheet, some kitty litter, and some complimentary bog paper and a hand sanitizer. It all works quite well and after you have lightened your load a drawstring tightens the whole thing up, plus a final zip lock keeps the odours at bay, so you can tie it to your pack and dispose of it when you get back to the carpark.
    Using wag bags is becoming common in many areas in the US and people are accepting of them. You don’t have to dig a hole. And hopefully if everybody is using them, when you do wander down from the crag to find a nice secluded private place to do your stuff, you wont accidently step in the remains of other peoples mess they have failed to bury adequately!
    I dont know if wag bags would be the solution here but i do hope they become more widespread here in Oz.
    Love your work tracey
    Stu

    • Thanks Stu. I actually looked into the idea of bags quite a few years ago – even applying for a grant to try and get some sort of ‘toileting’ program set up. Didn’t get the grant and then as per usual, something else cropped up and took over. Some of the feedback I received was that it would be unlikely that people would take this onboard and use the bags. I still think it could work if it was approached the right way. Maybe something to put back on the list again?

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